Monday, December 10, 2007

Wine Racks - A Tasteful Toast to Christmas

No Christmas is complete without a heart-felt toast with a glass of your favorite red wine! But don’t hide the beautiful bottle away in a cabinet – show it off with a stunning and sophisticated wine rack!

Wine racks are an impressive place to display and store your collection of wines and to make serving a glass stylish and convenient. Wine enthusiasts will recognize the unification of function and fashion, whether you have a couple of bottles to exhibit or a widespread wine cellar to take care of. Wine racks come in a variety of styles and sizes, so it’s important to find the right wine rack to fit your needs and your home décor.

Some styles of wine racks are modular wine racks, table top wine racks, wine cabinets, and wine carts. Stackable and modular racks offer an expandable design to customize how much space your have available for your vintages. They are mostly made for the wine cellar and allow the perfect amount of air circulation. Table top wine racks are a compact solution to display and store your wines so you can have easy access to them at all times. They are great for those who do not have a lot of extra space. Wine cabinets, on the other hand, are a larger, more durable storing option for your home. If you would like a wine rack that is mobile, consider a wine cart. Wine carts are convenient and feature luxury rolling casters for easy movement to the dining room, kitchen, or outdoors.

Before your Christmas celebration, arrange your wine rack with a diverse assortment of red and white wines. Sometimes choosing the right wine can be intimidating for those who are not acquainted with the art. To alleviate some of the pressure, consider asking a wine expert at your local liquor store, picking up a few wine magazines, or attending a wine tasting. With a little guidance and by following your taste buds, you will have built an impressive wine rack that you and your guests can enjoy!

While you’re collecting fine wines for your new wine rack, don’t forget to stock up on helpful wine accessories – such as glassware, wine refrigerators, wine stoppers, wine decanters, wine coolers, wine coasters, and wine openers!

Monday, November 19, 2007

How to Set the Perfect Christmas Dinner Table

Do you want your dining table to look picture-perfect for your guests? The way your dinner table set is a reflection of the overall atmosphere of the party. A cloth table cloth, tall crystal wine glasses and a candle-lit centerpiece reflect style and elegance. With a few easy techniques, you can quickly capture your desired look for a magnificent Christmas dinner table!

The key is to plan ahead. Before you set your Christmas dinner table, you need to find out how many people will be joining you for the feast. Then, you will know how many place settings are required for the table. You should also review your dinner menu to determine what Christmas serveware, dinnerware, and Christmas flatware your guests will be using throughout their meal. For example, if you’re serving a soup and a salad, two dinner bowls will be necessary at each place setting. You may also want to include a salad fork in addition to a dinner fork.

Before you set the dinner table, protect your table with tasteful Christmas table linens. To avoid having the table look busy or cluttered, choose rich, solid-colored holiday linens in festive shades, such as cranberry red. The Christmas table linens will serve as the backdrop to your designer-looking table. From there, accent your dining table with the same color palette. Christmas home accents can include napkin rings, place cards, charms on the wine glasses, flowers, candles, coasters, Christmas tableware, and centerpieces.

When it comes to holiday tableware, mixing and matching patterns and styles is acceptable. The important thing is to try to keep your color scheme consistent. Also, don’t be afraid to add crystal drinkware – it’s an instant, dazzling way to add elegance and grace to the dinner table!
For formal dining, set your Christmas dinner plates equidistant apart with a napkin neatly folded in the center of each plate. Arrange your Christmas silverware around the plate in the order that they will be used, making sure that knives have their blade turned toward the plate and that forks are at the left of the plate. Above the forks, place the bread plate, and to the left of the plate place the water glass, followed by the wine glass.

A Christmas dinner table should be a relaxing and comforting place to gather. Follow these simple tips for a stylish and elegant holiday dinner table that will impress guests of all ages!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Pet Beds: Pamper Your Pets for Christmas

The “dog days” aren’t just for summer! Your dog does so much for you and your family – it’s time to repay him for being your best friend. This Christmas season, pamper your pet with a comfortable dog bed to relax and sleep on!

Sharing a bed with your adorable companion might keep you warm during the night, but often it’s hard to sleep with the weight of your dog on your legs. A good dog bed will provide the comfort and support your dog needs to get a good night’s sleep – and you will sleep better with all the extra space in your bed! Dog beds are also better for your dog’s overall wellbeing. When your dog sleeps on the floor or other hard surfaces, it can cause your four-legged buddy to develop arthritis and calluses later in life. A pet bed will keep your puppy healthy and fit.

Dog beds are perfect for any breed dog of any size and come in a variety of styles. Nesting dog beds, pillow dog beds, bolster dog beds, furniture style dog beds, and designer dog beds are a few of the cozy options you have to choose from. The dog bed that is right for your pet will depend on the size of your dog, the age of your dog, and needs of your dog. The type of pet bed your choose for your dog will also depend on whether you’re looking for a casual spot for your dog to lounge in or a bed with the utmost of luxury. For older, arthritic, or ill dogs, orthopedic dog beds are recommended for maximum comfort and support.

If you love the gift of comfort, your pets will, too! While you relax on the couch and toast chestnuts over an open fire, allow your loveable dog to join in the fun and settle down nearby on his or her own pet bed!

Check out Merry Christmas Decor for other holiday tips, gifts, and decorating ideas!

Money Saving Christmas Light Tips

Christmas lights add warmth to your home and have a way of keeping everyone in the holiday spirit. Nevertheless, whether you’re hanging a single strand of Christmas lights on your porch, or decorating your entire house with Christmas lights, it’s inevitable that your electrical bill will climb. But before you flick the switch to your Christmas joy, you should know that there are great ways to help ensure that lighting your house will not send your electric bill through the roof! What's more, Christmas lights create a festive atmosphere for your friends and family, so a slight seasonal increase in your bill is a small price to pay for true holiday cheer!

Use Timers for Lights: Timers ensure that your lights are turned off so you save money. Leaving Christmas lighting displays on overnight during the course of a few months will most likely lead to an increase in your electric bill. By using timers for your Christmas lights, you will never have to wake up in the middle of the night wondering if you forgot to turn off the lights. All you have to do is set the light timer and forget about it! They make one extra thing you won’t have to worry about – and every little bit counts during the holidays!

Use LED Lights: LED lights are energy-efficient, safe, shatterproof, and shock resistant. Each LED C7 multicolored bulb is only 0.08 watts – in comparison to a standard incandescent C7 bulb with 6 watts or an incandescent miniature lights with 0.48 watts. Bottom line – you can save up to 80% of your energy costs! LED Lights come in green, orange, gold, red, white and blue.

Replace Old, Large Christmas Lights: Your mother or grandmother used them, so now they have become a Christmas tradition, but those old large, traditional colored bulbs could be costing you! These older strands of Christmas lights use up to 10 watts per bulb, as opposed to most C7 or C9 Christmas lights that use 5 to 7 watts per bulb! Though the difference is only a couple of watts, it could amount to much more on your electrical bill. Instead, perhaps opt for miniature string lights – they use about 70% less energy and outlast larger holiday lights. Can’t scrap a holiday tradition? Keep your larger colored Christmas lights, but replace the 7 to 10 watt bulbs with 5 watt bulbs to save about 30% more energy – and more money, too!

Check out Merry Christmas Decor for other holiday tips, gifts, and decorating ideas!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Do-It-Yourself Christmas Centerpieces

Christmas Bulb CenterpieceThe hustle and bustle of the Christmas season is often unavoidable. With our never-ending obligations, sometimes decorating takes a backseat, but surrounding guests with Christmas cheer is often one of the most important aspects of a party. Christmas decorations set the mood to the festivities and are the visual representations of the occasion. And, since most holidays revolve around the dinner table, the center of attention should always be the Christmas centerpiece.

It's easy to find beautiful Christmas centerpieces at online Christmas shops or at local stores, but if you prefer to do-it-yourself, you can make your own unique centerpiece that will blend seamlessly with your holiday decor. Even if you have a "To Do" list as long as Santa’s, in a few spare moments, you can put together a simple, attractive, colorful, and effective centerpiece by following our tips below.

Christmas Bulb Centerpiece Directions
Gather spare Christmas bulbs of different sizes and colors, place them in any size clear bowl, adorn the bowl with gold or holiday colored ribbon, and in seconds you have a Christmas table centerpiece! Or use a hot glue gun to attach the bulbs to a styrofoam balls to create festive orbs like the ones above from Better Homes & Gardens.

Christmas Present Centerpiece

Christmas Gift Centerpiece Directions

For another easy holiday centerpiece, wrap a few small boxes of different shapes with your favorite seasonal wrapping paper and pretty ribbon and arrange the boxes in the center of the table with some fresh pine boughs or other greenery. Not only will this centerpiece provide your guests with something to look at, it will spark their curiosity and excitement. You could even use some of the real presents from under your tree!

Citrus Pomander CenterpieceModern Citrus Centerpiece Directions
For a very simple and modern citrus centerpiece, fill glass hurricane canisters with mixed citrus fruits and eucalyptus. Or, with a little more effort, you can make a pomander centerpiece like the one on the right. You'll need a cake stand, some oranges, cloves, thin rubber band ribbon and some greenery, like white pine, eucalyptus or mountain laurel. Pierce the oranges with the cloves in a pattern that you like. You can use the rubber band to help make sure that the cloves are lined up neatly. Arrange the pomanders on a cake stand with the greens and you're done! Make your own variation by mixing in a few lemons, limes or kumquats to add a little extra color, or add an extra layer on a glass plate, or put a candle in the middle. The options are endless!

Just remember, Christmas centerpieces should be made to be looked over, not over looked! Keep the height of your centerpiece low enough that your guests will be able to see each other across the table.

Luggage Tips for Stress-Free Christmas Travel

While some are dreaming of a white Christmas, others are crossing their fingers that they don’t get snowed in! With millions of travelers crowding the airports, the holidays are by far the busiest travel season of the year. Whether you’re visiting relatives or escaping to a warmer destination, the key is to book early, plan ahead, and be prepared.

Packing your luggage is one of the most important parts of preparing for your Christmas trip. If you have old, beat up suitcases, it is probably time to invest in some quality luggage that will protect your precious belongings. To avoid frantic Chirstmas shoppers and long lines, consider shopping online. is an online luggage store that has a great selection of suitcases, carry on luggage, garment bags, ski and snowboard bags, and more by a variety of trusted manufacturers, like Samsonite and Boyt. When you’re buying new luggage, try to choose a piece that has wheels and a handle and look for well-built, lightweight, high-quality, and portable gear. Avoid heavy, bulky luggage that will be hard to maneuver.

When you’re traveling during Christmas, it’s important to pack light to avoid aches and pains during your holiday celebrations. Packing lighter luggage is better for your body’s muscles, bones and joints, and will make it easier for you to lift your luggage. Sometimes our goal is to fit all of our things in one bag, but this may be cumbersome. Instead, pack your belongings in a few smaller suitcases, rather than one large suitcase. Two lighter pieces of luggage in each hand, rather than one heavy piece in one hand also reduce stress on your spine. If you have bags full of holiday gifts for your loved ones, consider checking them or shipping them ahead of time in dependable luggage, allowing at lease two to three weeks for the gifts to arrive at their destination.

Have you ever arrived at your destination only to find that your luggage didn’t make it there? Lost luggage can put your Christmas stress level through the roof. To help your bags find their way back to you, be sure to attach luggage tags to all of your bags. Flimsy outside luggage tags can be torn off during baggage handling, so securely attach a durable luggage tag made of leather or faux leather to the outside of the bag with your contact information inside, and attach a second luggage tag in the inside of your bag as well. It never hurts to have a backup!

Check out Merry Christmas Decor for other holiday tips, gifts, and decorating ideas!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Simple & Delicious Christmas Pie Recipes

No dessert captures the sweetness of Christmas better than a warm pie baking in the oven. It’s a nostalgic smell that brings to mind a grandmother’s kitchen, and evokes a safe, homey feeling. Freshly baked pies are a symbol of the holidays and a decadent dessert that have been enjoyed by millions since the time of the Egyptians. This Christmas, prepare your kitchen with all the finest cookware, bakeware, and appliances so you can cook up a mouth-watering holiday pie for all your family to enjoy! Don’t spend all day in the kitchen trying to make a complicated tiramisu or upside down cake. Bake a delicious pie that’s as easy as… well, pie! Here is a classic Mince Apple Pie recipe and a festive Holiday Eggnog Pie recipe for you to get started!

Mince Apple Pie:

1 baked 9-inch pie crust
1 cup prepared mincemeat
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
4 cups Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Pre-heat the oven to 375°. Next, line the bottom of 9-inch pie pan with half the pastry. Combine mincemeat and orange zest. Spread the mixture on the bottom of the pastry-lined pie pan.

In large mixing bowl, combine 1/4 cup sugar, the chopped walnuts, and flour. Then, add the apples and toss. Next, spread the apple mixture over the layer of mincemeat and then sprinkle lemon juice on top. Cover the filling with the remaining pastry. Seal the pie crust and flute the edges. Lightly brush the top of the crust with water and sprinkle with sugar. Carefully cut several vents in the top crust so the steam can escape. Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until apples are tender. Wait least 30 minutes for the pie to cool before serving.

Holiday Eggnog Pie:

1 baked 9-inch pie crust
2 packaged of vanilla pudding mix
2 cups of eggnog
1 ¼ cups milk
1/8 teaspoon of grounded nutmeg
1 carton Cool Whip or whipped topping
¼ cup pecans (optional)
1 tablespoon rum

Combine the pudding mix, eggnog, milk and grounded nutmeg in a saucepan. Cook on the stove and stir over medium heat until mixture comes to a complete boil. Then, remove from the heat and add rum if desired and cool for 5 minutes, stirring twice. Line the bottom of the pie pan with the pie crust and pour on the mixture. Cover the surface with plastic wrap. Finally, chill at least 3 hours in the refrigerator. Garnish the pie with Cool Whip or other whipped topping. Top with pecans or just a little nutmeg sprinkled on the Cool Whip.

Check out Merry Christmas Decor for other holiday tips, gifts, and decorating ideas!

December Belongs to the Christmas Tree

A focal point in countless living rooms nation-wide, the Christmas tree is synonymous with good food, good company and general merriment. Being the most iconic of all Holiday decorations, the perfect Christmas tree can transform your regular living room into a Winter Wonderland.

If you prefer to avoid all of the maintenance that live Christmas trees require, then consider an artificial Christmas tree. While many old-fashioned Christmas celebrators fancy a live tree and all of its natural nuances, there are many folks that can just as easily engage in the same seasonal spirit and symbolism with the addition of an artificial Christmas tree to their Holiday decor. There are many advantages to boasting an artificial Christmas tree, including its hypo-allergenic properties, its low maintenance nature and its higher safety rating. Moreover, they provide for simple set up and storage, as well as the added bonus of reusability.

That being said, there are many traditionalists who believe that there is no other way to decorate or celebrate than with a live Christmas tree. The scent of a live tree induces a unique, nostalgic aroma that can evoke limitless amounts of childhood memories. Watching your father struggle to carry something much stronger and more imposing than he, but doing it with such force and willpower with a twinkle in his eyes, or heading down to the Christmas tree farm with the whole family arguing about which tree is the most perfect for your living room are priceless experiences that should not long be forgotten.

Fully connect with your Christmas spirit this Holiday season courtesy of the signature, most emblematic holiday decoration.. a Christmas tree!

Check out Merry Christmas Decor for other holiday tips, gifts, and decorating ideas!